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Tale of Two McDonald’s

Getting Customer Service Right

At our house we have some traditions – McDonald’s is one of them.

Somehow, we got in the habit of starting every trip with a morning stop at McDonald’s. Heading to Disney? Stop on the way to the airport. Skiing? Stop on the way to the hill. There are other choices, but for us, it is McDonald’s.

This week we sent our daughter off to university in a city four hours away by plane. Tough, but happy, morning. So, of course, we needed to stop at McDonald’s.

As we backed out of the driveway at 3:50 am, I asked my daughter to check if our “favorite” McDonald’s was open. She checked the website, and we were good to go.

Arrived at the drive-through at 4:15 am – Golden Arches were glowing, lights were on in the store, people were moving around, and the drive-through was unblocked. I pulled up to the microphone and gave the voice on the order board a cheery good morning (at least the best I could do at 4:15 am.)

Before I could say Egg McMuffin, the voice tells me they are not taking orders. Thinking I had misheard, I started my order again – “we are not taking orders.” When are you taking orders? “Around 4:30 – maybe” was the answer.

As I left the drive-through, I got the University bound daughter to find another Mcdonald’s. There was one literally two minutes away.

I pulled into the drive-through, and a very cheery voice asked for our order. Gave the order and moved through. I went to the wrong pay window and had to back up. No one else in line, so no big deal. We got our order, had a quick chat with the nice lady, and started to pull away.

She stopped us and gave us two coupons for free sandwiches. I asked why. She said it was for the inconvenience of having to back up at the pay window. I tried to give them back, saying it wasn’t necessary – she insisted.

We have a new favorite McDonald’s.

Three life lessons learned:

  1. Do what you promise. If the first McDonald’s wasn’t ready to serve, they should have made that clear by leaving the Golden Arches unlit. We would have driven on.

  2. It doesn’t take a lot to impress a customer – a smiling face and a cheery comment (coupons optional)

  3. It is easy to find a new favorite place (we did)

Business success is seldom about the big “things” – the devil is in the details.

#creativeconceptsmkt #entrepreneurship #marketing

Norman Leach is the President of Creative Concepts MKT, a boutique marketing firm, creating success for clients worldwide.